Covid-19 Vaccine Pharmaceuticals Prioritize Rich Countries
The six pharmaceutical companies at the helm of the Covid-19 vaccines are refusing to give up their intellectual property rights and share their technology with poor countries, Amnesty International just denounced at the end of September.
In its report “Double Dose of Inequality: Pharmaceutical Companies and the Covid-19 Vaccine Crisis,” Amnesty International (AI) assesses the six major pharmaceutical companies involved in these vaccines: AstraZeneca (UK); BioNTech (Germany); and US-based Johnson&Johnson, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer. The conclusion is that they have no regard for Human Rights.
“Vaccinating everyone is the only way out of this crisis. We should be hailing the scientists of these companies, who were so quick to create vaccines, as heroes. But to their shame they refuse to share their knowledge, strike shady deals with rich countries, and cause devastating vaccine shortages for the poor,” denounced Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard.
“They are plunging poor areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia into new crises, causing tens of thousands of deaths. In many poor countries, not even health workers and at-risk populations have received the vaccine. With this inequity, BioNTech, Moderna and Pfizer will have earned $130 billion by the end of 2022.”
Of the 5.76 billion doses administered worldwide, only 0.3% have gone to poor countries and more than 79% to rich or middle- and high-income countries. Despite calls to prioritize global equity in the allocation of vaccines (COVAX Mechanism), some of these companies have reserved their supply to countries known to monopolize them.
Pharmaceutical companies have refused to participate in international initiatives for global supply and to share knowledge and technology. They are opposed to temporarily suspending intellectual property rights.
Pfizer and BioNTech have supplied vaccines to Sweden alone, nine times more than all poor countries combined, which have received less than 1% of their production. By the end of 2022 it will have earned more than $86 billion. Moderna has not delivered a single dose to poor countries. It will earn more than $47 billion. Johnson&Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax refuse to share their technology.
Most of these pharmaceutical companies receive multimillion public funds and with their passivity they harm the Human Rights of the billions of people who still cannot access a vaccine that can save their lives.